Meaningful climate commitments with “highest possible climate ambitions”

Aksyon Klima Statement on House Resolution No. 1494

Despite being one of the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of the climate crisis, the Philippines is one of the last few countries yet to submit its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). This document is integral for the Philippines not only to fulfill its obligations as a Party to the 2015 Paris Agreement, but also to attain sustainable development, where no one is left behind. 

The NDC should present the post-2020 self-determined national strategies aligned with the global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2030 and achieve a net-zero emissions world by 2050. However, the draft NDC presented to the Filipino public on a multi-stakeholder consultation last 23 December 2020 lacks sufficiently high ambition for the Philippines’s climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies and undermines the “whole-of-nation” approach that the government itself has been implementing. Adding to the disappointing draft is the repeated delays in NDC submission, resulting in several missed self-imposed deadlines by the Philippine government.

Despite calls by a few stakeholders and the House of Representatives to submit the NDC by 31 December 2020, the Philippine government decided to postpone the submission after heeding the calls of many sectors regarding serious concerns on inclusivity, transparency, higher ambitions and meaningful commitments. While it meant another disappointing delay in the progress of the country’s NDC, we respect this choice as it indicated that government agencies are not willing to compromise its quality simply to meet a deadline.

With this context, we, Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, support the call of House Resolution No. 1494 for the “highest possible climate ambition” in the Philippines’s first NDC. In the latest NDC draft, the country stated a 30% reduction target in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, with an aspirational target of emissions peaking by 2030. In subsequent consultations, we expect to see either stronger committed targets in the updated NDC or more supporting evidence for the targets and timelines previously presented.

Per Decision 1/CP.21, Parties to the Paris Agreement are allowed to submit their NDC “at least 9 to 12 months in advance of the relevant session of the next Conference of Parties” to be considered by the UNFCCC Secretariat. With COP26 currently slated to take place on 1-12 November 2021 in Glasgow, United Kingdom, this gives the Philippines a few more days from as of this writing to finalize the NDC. We have no more excuses to not submit an ambitious, meaningful NDC on time

Consistent with our position expressed during previous engagements, we present once more our calls for the Philippine NDC:

  • The NDC must be reflective of a sufficiently high ambition, characterized with targets and measures that indicate a transformative decarbonization pathway towards inclusive, resilient, and sustainable development. 
  • The year 2030 must be set as the year for the Philippines’s GHG emissions to peak, before decreasing to allow the country to transition into a low-carbon economy, aligned with global efforts for a net-zero emissions world by 2050.
  • There must be a clear presentation of a set of strong quantifiable targets, climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, and accompanying timelines and costs, as part of an integrated economy-wide approach reflected in the Philippines’s first NDC.
  • Target limits must be set to the production and consumption of fossil fuels by 2030 and 2050, with a peaking year for coal being set much earlier than other fossil fuels. 
  • Emissions avoidance must be prioritized in the NDC over simply reducing emissions as much as possible.
  • The interlinkages between climate change mitigation options and cross-cutting issues with implications on enhancing adaptation (e.g. poverty alleviation, gender, health, education, biodiversity loss, pandemic, youth development) must be reflected in the commitments under the NDC.

We also reiterate our position that the formulation of the final draft of the NDC must be transparent, participative, and inclusive, aligned with the “whole-of-nation” approach as stated in HR 01494. Proper mechanisms to ensure more active participation from non-government actors must be enforced in not just finalizing the NDC, but also working together for implementation of related programs, monitoring their progress, and raising our collective ambition in succeeding submissions. For instance, the NDC Technical Working Group must include civil society and other sectors not only in drafting but also in the implementation and monitoring processes. 

We emphasize that the NDC itself and its development and submission processes must not be limited only to a political act. We have the right to have an NDC submission that is reflective of its interests, especially those of the most vulnerable, and inclusive of the well-being of its ecosystems and natural resources, while also taking into account our roles as global citizens, in the spirit of climate justice and equity.

As representatives of the Philippine civil society, especially the communities most affected by the climate crisis, we will remain committed to monitoring the development, submission, and implementation of the NDC and its implications on the economic, social, and environmental well-being of the country. We also reconfirm our willingness to work with national government agencies, local government units, and other non-government stakeholders in strengthening climate action in the Philippines and enhancing long-term resilience towards sustainability.


Aksyon Klima Pilipinas is a national network of civil society organizations working on diverse climate and development-related issues.